YNPN Chicago Board of Directors Speak!
YNPN Chicago is nonpartisan, and the views expressed below do not necessarily reflect the position of the organization.
Last week, many advocates and professionals celebrated the Supreme Court ruling upholding the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), commonly referred to as “Obamacare” or federal health reform.
At the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (IMCHC), we advocated tirelessly for the passage of the ACA, and its successful implementation. We worked with partners statewide and nationally to educate the public about its benefits and dispel myths about its impact on the federal budget. You can imagine the ineffable thrill and excitement we felt when the Supreme Court of the United States blog announced that the individual mandate requiring all citizens to purchase insurance was deemed constitutional. I won’t even attempt to describe our devastation when CNN first erroneously reported that the opposite had happened (don’t worry – it was just a couple of minutes of despair!).
For those of us in public health and in other social service advocacy organizations, the ruling was an affirmation of our work, and confirmation that access to high quality, affordable health care is a basic human right.
The ACA makes health care coverage more secure and makes insurance easier to access, afford, and understand. Millions of people are already reaping the benefits of this law and can consider the Court’s decision a personal health care victory. Among many others:
- Women benefit because health reform emphasizes prevention (including mammogram and cervical cancer screenings) as a critical measure to keep people healthy and curb health care spending.
- Young adults benefit because the law allows them to remain covered on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.
- People with cancer and other chronic health problems benefit because health reform will eliminate denials for health coverage based on pre-existing conditions.
In nonprofit work, it’s often difficult to see the direct effect our work has on the public and we can get discouraged easily by a multitude of barriers and challenges. However, this is one instance where the “win” is palpable. And we are able to share it with our partners, supporters, and funders in the true spirit of collaboration and success. I can refuel with this invigorating and inspiring victory and be able to move forward with a spring in my step and a smile on my face.
Divya Mohan Little serves as both Communications Director for the Illinois Maternal and Child Health Coalition (IMCHC) and the Project Director for the Coalition for School Health Centers. Divya also serves as the Communications Chair for the YNPN Chicago Board of Directors. Prior to moving to Chicago, Divya worked for the National Assembly on School-Based Health Care , as Communications Director. She has ten years of non-profit and communications experience, including positions at the National Trust for Historic Preservation and Epoch Communications. Divya received her Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Journalism from Washington & Lee University and her Master of Arts in Communication from George Mason University.